The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented the report of the Chief Executive which sought Cabinet endorsement of the proposed changes to Corporate Plan targets for 2021-22 prior to submission to Council for approval.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change reported that the Corporate Plan was refreshed for 2021-22 in February 2021, endorsed by Cabinet and approved by Council in line with the normal statutory requirement to review the Corporate Plan annually. As part of the approval process for the refreshed Corporate Plan, it was acknowledged that COVID-19 had an impact on the planning cycle, making it more challenging to set targets for 2021-22. It was agreed by Council that a flexible approach to setting corporate plan targets was necessary to ensure business planning is robust and effective.
The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change informed Cabinet that as part of the COVID-19 recovery planning each directorate had the opportunity to consider targets for 2021-22, based on verified year end data. She stated that proposed changes to targets had been considered at the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 5 July 2021 to ensure appropriate challenge and transparency. She set out the proposed target changes, which would be published as an addendum to the current Corporate Plan. As part of a wider review of performance and governance due to the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021, it was proposed that corporate planning adopts this approach to target setting in future planning cycles, to ensure that the published corporate plan remains up to date with the most recent year end data and avoids the issue of publishing the Corporate Plan without targets due to lack of data.
The Cabinet Wellbeing and Future Generations in commending the approach for revised targets for the Corporate Plan referred to the actual performance for the percentage of people presenting as homeless or potentially homeless, being 50.4% as opposed to the target of 10%, being attributed to the expansion of the duty due to the pandemic and the change in categorisation of who the Council owes a duty to. However, the Cabinet Member reassured Members that the pressure was being dealt with.
The Cabinet Wellbeing and Future Generations informed Cabinet that despite the pandemic the Council had managed to bring 2 dwellings back into use and that the Council is committed to bringing further properties back into use. The Cabinet Member Communities thanked the empty properties team in bringing back properties back into use. He stated that there are many reasons for empty properties in town centres and which were not owned by the Council. The Corporate Director Communities confirmed that the majority of properties in town centres were not owned by the Council and that non-food retail had suffered in town centres during the pandemic, however the Council with the Bridgend Town Centre Masterplan would be looking at employment and living opportunities in the town centre with its partners, with opportunities for retail space on ground floors and residential on upper floors. The Corporate Director Communities informed Cabinet that a similar scheme is in the process of being delivered in Maesteg Town Centre.
The Cabinet Member Communities referred to the number of Community Asset Transfers not achieving its target of 15 transfers and asked whether capacity within the team had been impacted during the pandemic. The Corporate Director Communities informed Cabinet that the target of 15 transfers had been set before the pandemic and she thanked the Community Asset Transfer Officer and team for delivering 13 Community Asset Transfers during the year. She stated that each transfer is subject to a great deal of due diligence and as the target had been missed by more than 10%, it does not reflect on the performance of the team. The team would be strengthened by recruitment to it and she hoped that another 10 transfers would be completed.
The Cabinet Member Communities questioned the reason for the percentage budget reductions achieved being 85.8%, missing its target of 89.42%. The Interim Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change informed Cabinet that officers had worked hard to achieve the budget reductions and assured Cabinet that savings were continually worked on.
The Cabinet Member Social Services and Early Help referred to the wellbeing objectives being demand-led and she paid tribute to the efforts of staff in the Early Help and the Interventions Teams for their exemplary efforts during the pandemic.
RESOLVED: (1) That Cabinet approved the revised Corporate Plan targets for 2021-2022 and recommends it to Council for approval on 21 July 2021.
(2) The Cabinet also approved the proposal to introduce a flexible process to review the setting of targets informed by year end data. Any revised targets will then be published as an addendum to the Corporate Plan.